Have you heard of Gill D Anderson?
Hey everyone! Let’s get to know the great Gill D Anderson today in a wonderful interview about her experiences and awesome books.
Gill D Anderson
Hi Gill D Anderson! Please introduce yourself and share 5 fun facts!
My name is actually Gillian Anderson (not to be confused with the X-Files actress!). As a teenager I shortened my name to Gill and it stuck. As a term of endearment some of my friends call me Miss Gilly which is kind of cute. I moved to South Australia from Edinburgh, Scotland 16 years ago and have embraced the lifestyle in Adelaide wholeheartedly.
Since living here, I’ve obtained a double degree in social work and social planning, gained a position in the Department for Child Protection, published 2 contemporary adult fiction novels (soon to be 3) and brought up two amazing daughters with my husband. I’m incredibly blessed and remember to practice gratitude everyday.❤️
- As a young child I was always making little books. These could be jokes, short stories or poems. Some were very cheeky – such as the poem about a grumpy neighbour titled ‘The Old Bag’😂
2. I used to put puppet shows on for my friends and loved making up my own characters with various accents and personalities (my oldest friends might remember Bert and Barney!)
3. I love chili and put it on everything! My favourite snacks are chili crisps and Lindt chili chocolate.🌶
4. I’m obsessed with Mac my 9 year old black English cocker spaniel who has more Instagram followers than me! I carry him around like a small child and he loves it.🐾
5.According to personality testing, I’m an ambivert which is a cross between an introvert and extrovert. I hate public speaking, yet if I have something to say, I will damn well say it!
What is your favourite thing about writing contemporary adult fiction?
I think the best thing about writing contemporary adult fiction is that there are no boundaries and no rules. The themes of many novels of previous era’s have been written in a ‘safe’ way to avoid offending others and to appeal to the masses. This will of course allow such an author to gain more fans, more sales and generate glowing reviews. I decided to liberate myself from that and be a bit more daring. As a social worker, I have been privy to another side of life, one which many people would rather not acknowledge exists.
I totally respect the reader’s right to stay in their own protective bubble and only see the world in the way that feels safe for them. To that end, my contemporary writing style may not be for everyone. But to be able to write in a way that reflects real life current affairs, I need to be able to address issues such as domestic violence, sexual deviance, and trauma as per my first novel Hidden from View. My second novel The Chosen Seven is a political thriller that touches on terrorism. So, I guess my favourite thing is that the topics I write about are valid, current, shocking and provocative.
What can you tell us about your work in progress Melita?
Melita is a novel that depicts the complexities that some mother and daughter relationships are prone to. It gives the view points of the mother Melita and her daughter Emily throughout different life stages and flashes back to Melita’s own upbringing. The reader is able to see where certain family patterns have become entrenched and why.
The intention is to keep the reader switching between feeling empathy for Melita and then feeling anger. She remains so bitter and refuses to address past demons which affects her long-term relationship with her daughter Emily, with whom she becomes estranged. Like my other novels, while there is a serious underlying theme, there is also some humour and sauciness to give it a little bit of spice.
What challenges have you faced while working on it? Does your book reflect your own experiences with mother/daughter relationships? If so, how?
I have to be honest; it is a subject that affects me personally so I was able to use bits of my own experience. I do want to emphasize that Melita is purely fiction despite tapping into key elements of my own childhood. The challenges I had while writing Melita was in deciding how much to use of my own story and how much to invent. In the end it was much safer to steer the story away from real historical events. Not only to protect myself but also my maternal family members.
I found it too upsetting when I tried to re-enact the true story and felt it would be in poor taste to share certain facts. I felt exposed and disloyal, I guess. Because of this, I chopped and changed quite a few scenes and it’s taken me a little longer to write. I think maybe a personal journal is better for dealing with the real thing. As always though, I think the moral of the story is that most of the time it’s not too late to work on repairing the mother/daughter relationship and that’s the key message in Melita.
I would like to acknowledge however, that there are some mother and daughter relationships that are so damaged that trying to mend them would not be beneficial due to the level of abuse involved. I would never imply that repair work is always possible to mend these types of relationships because this is not realistic and is insulting to trauma survivors.
What have been some of your biggest victories as an author?
I think I’ve really grown as a writer over the last year. I’ve become better at character development, plot sequences and ‘showing not telling’ which is a major rookie error! I was understandably nervous about putting my first novel out there due to its controversial nature and kept checking for reviews which became a bit of an unhealthy obsession. I have since gained many author friends who totally relate to this habit so it was comforting to know that I was not alone!
I’m a lot more laid back about feedback now as I realize, I have no control over who reads and reviews or what their opinion might be. I write for myself because I love doing so. If others enjoy it and I’m lucky enough to hear about it then reviews are gratefully received.
How do you relate to the characters in your book?
I think most of my characters depict a whole myriad of emotions and facets of their personalities just like most of us do in real life. We all have our good and bad sides. I like my characters to look within and demonstrate their reflective capacity and emotional intelligence because without those traits we can’t evolve to become the best version of ourselves.
I think I relate to them because I’m not perfect and have my own flaws just like anyone else. I’ve always been reflective though, so I love projecting that into the main characters. I’m always optimistic that anyone can improve their life if they can forgive themselves and others for past wrong doings (within reason as per disclaimer above).
How are you different from other authors?
I’m still trying to figure that out to be honest. But what is really interesting is the common thread in reviews from readers who consistently say that I’m becoming known for my own style which is to write pacey novels that have colourful characters, heightened drama, humour and page turning cliff hangers that tap into the psychological traits of human beings suffering from stress or trauma.
I’ve also had a significant amount of readers say that they don’t normally read but devoured my novels in 1 – 2 days because they were so engaged in the story. I hope there is some truth in that, it makes me so happy and fulfilled to hear!
What is your favourite part about working on this book?
I just love writing in general, so it’s always great to just sit there and see what comes to mind! I’m not much of a planner, I prefer to go with the flow although I do quite like the three-act structure which includes an introduction, middle conflict and final act which is the climax or resolution. I can loosely work around that model. My absolute favourite thing is writing THE END! I’m hoping for Melita those words will be written within the next couple of weeks.
Do you prefer traditional or self-publishing?
I think there is a place for both. It’s not necessarily about having a preference. It’s more about the reality of what becomes available to you when you are ready to publish and what fits in with your long- term goals and plans.
I think traditional publishing is less popular these days because authors are expected to do a lot of their own marketing themselves. They end up coming to the conclusion that they may as well take the reins from start to finish and self-publish. There will always be pros and cons for both. It’s important for authors to research the options fully before deciding on the best approach.
What do you hope your readers will gain from the experience of reading your book?
As with all of my stories, I hope that they ‘talk to’ readers on some level. That they can relate to the characters and understand their flaws and empathize about where they came from. I hope that anyone dealing with the pain associated with craving your mother’s love, attention and positive reinforcement long into adulthood will find this novel resonates with them.
What have you learned throughout the process of working on this book?
By writing about the complexities of the mother and daughter relationship, I’ve reflected that even if you feel you were wronged in life by your mother, there is often more to their own story. It can help to acknowledge that their own childhood shaped who they became. This in no way excuses abusive or neglectful behaviour, but it is a contributing factor all the same. It can be really difficult for women to admit they have a dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship especially when society dictates to us what that relationship should look like. It makes you feel guilty when you don’t achieve the ‘norm.’
Do you have advice for aspiring authors in this genre?
Write from the heart and don’t change scenes because you are worried about who they will offend. Watering down your work to suit others is an insult to the genre. Be quietly confident and try not to allow feelings of self-doubt to plague you. Even the most established and confident authors have these moments.
Being a contemporary adult fiction author is unique. You have to love writing with a passion because the reality is that unless you hit the best seller lists, it is unlikely you will become rich from it. Be true to yourself and just believe. People either love or hate contemporary adult fiction. Learn to be ok about that and keep doing your thing! Each genre attracts its own little tribe.
Thank you so much Gill D Anderson! Your work is powerful and I hope you never stop writing. To stay in touch with her, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check out her books (Hidden From View and The Chosen Seven).
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